View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Thursday, 13 September 2012


The remnants of tropical storm Leslie are approaching the Hebrides, and we are on warning for severe gales, possibly stormforce winds this evening. The weather at our latitudes is governed by differences in temperature, and Leslie swept up from Bermuda last weekend, carrying a large amount of warm, moist, tropical air. Having met with a frontal boundary to much colder and drier air over eastern Canada on Monday, the result is a deep depression to the south of Iceland. A tight pressure gradient to its south will push winds to force 9-10, and cause disruption on our ferries. The run between Oban and the southern isles is already cancelled, as this route is exposed to the southwesterly wind and swells. Other ferries are on warning for possible cancellation, including our link to Ullapool; today's evening crossing from Ullapool could be cancelled. I'm closely monitoring the Calmac website for updates.

Dutch elections

Yesterday, the people in Holland went to the polls for a general election. This had been called following the collapse of the coalition government, headed up by prime minister Rutte. The result saw some major changes in the seating arrangements in the 150-seat Lower House of Parliament in The Hague. The most noticeable changes are in the loss of 9 of their 24 seats previously held by the PVV of Geert Wilders. I have never hidden my dislike of Mr Wilders' politics and am pleased that his strength has been lessened. The centre-left Labour party gained 9 seats, but still came second after the Liberal party, who ended up with 41 seats.

The issue in the election had been the approach to the Eurozone crisis and necessary cuts. It would appear the pro-Eurozone parties have won. The next step is the formation of a coalition government, a process that is likely to take a number of weeks or months. For me, the decline of the Christian Democrat (CDA) party to a mere 13 seats is remarkable; for 70 years they were the inevitable party of government.